The Autopilot is much talked about when it is responsible for an accident. Yet according to the latest Tesla report, the accident rate per miles traveled has never been so low with a drop of 50% compared to the previous quarter.
The media loves the news, so it is not uncommon to hear of accidents that the Tesla Autopilot is suspected of having caused. There has also been a report of this crazy Model X which caused the death of a pedestrian in Japan, with autopilot activated. In reality, these accidents are extremely rare.
Since October 2018, Tesla has published a road safety report. This gives the figures relating to its entire fleet of vehicles in circulation, over a million to date, and to the accidents recorded. What is of interest is of course the ratio between the number of incidents and the number of miles during which these vehicles have driven with the Autopilot activated. A weak figure shows its effectiveness in preventing and avoiding traffic accidents, in the hope of convincing politicians to make the laws less strict, particularly in Europe.
Tesla: an accident with the Autopilot every 7.5 million kilometers
In the version that has just been published, it says: “In the 1st quarter, we registered one accident for every 4.68 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.99 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.42 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 479,000 miles.”
As we can see, the Autopilot therefore seems to be very effective in preventing accidents, which secretly worries the Volkswagen boss. However, the figures can only be compared in an absolute manner, from one quarter to the next. Indeed, drivers often activate the Autopilot on motorways only, an environment less prone to accidents. That said, if we compare these figures with those of the previous quarter, we see an improvement of 50%, illustrating the constant work done by the developers as recently the recognition of traffic lights and stop signs, always reducing the risks even more. When Elon Musk decides to offer the Autopilot as a subscription, its adoption could increase significantly.